This little city has hosted the Ibrahim family for generations and celebrates their own renowned artist inhabitant, who will be representing the U.A.E. at the 59th Venice Biennale. Founded in 1985, the event annually showcases a range of artistic talent, from film to dance and architecture to music. In 2022, an exhibit curated by Maya Allison for the National Pavillion UAE will host Ibrahim and his spectacle of artwork.
In conversation with Maya Allison, Ibrahim describes his process of preparing materials for both paintings and sculptures. Ibrahim admits that he often mixes his materials with coffee, tea, tobacco, grass or leaves to experiment and evaluate how they change. Without preparing any former ideas, Ibrahim creates his structures initially through rolling cardboard to make dry objects and later, he combines his wet mixtures with his dry elements.
When the two dry and wet materials mix, Ibrahim notes how the structure begins moving “I feel life is coming to the dry structure” he remarks. Without interfering, he allows his structures to form their own shapes. “The material itself is choosing me” Ibrahim states, in describing how his process, amongst everything else in life, has changed and evolved through time.
By Olivia Melkonian
Yes, I feel both responsible and honored to be able to share my art with the rest of the world. My practice is directly tied back to the UAE’s landscape, in particular Khor Fakkan, and this is a very special aspect of the UAE that international audiences don’t always see.
Khor Fakkan is an essential point of departure for my work. It is a source of inspiration that cannot be separated from me or from the objects that I make, which respond to their immediate surroundings of Khor Fakkan.
The nature of the town and its location is very unique, with the mountains towering over the town on one side, and the sea opening up the town to the vastness of the world on the other side. This makes Khor Fakkan a place that is very special. My art is derived from the ground it was born in, and so my art is inspired by the land that it occupies.
Natural motifs come naturally to me, they come without any pressures – they almost appear without any conscious thought. This goes back to the importance of the land I am surrounded by: it is a part of my being, and therefore a part of my art which does not separate from me, or the land around me that inspires me to make.
I am very hopeful about the next generation who are pioneering the arts scene in the UAE. My hope is in them, and in the institutions of the United Arab Emirates. Together, they can establish an art scene that is vibrant and plays a role in shaping the time they exist in.